February 22, 2024
snow Snow 35 °F

Decker student who founded food pantry continues spirit of service

Alexis Green's Knight Pack helps families in need at Windsor Central School District

Alexis Green is graduating in May with a bachelor's degree in nursing. Always driven to care for others, she began a food pantry while in middle school. Alexis Green is graduating in May with a bachelor's degree in nursing. Always driven to care for others, she began a food pantry while in middle school.
Alexis Green is graduating in May with a bachelor's degree in nursing. Always driven to care for others, she began a food pantry while in middle school. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

When you imagine a knight in shining armor, do you picture an 11-year-old girl? Many families in the Windsor Central School District would tell you they do.

As a sixth-grader in 2013, Alexis Green ’23 — a senior at Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences — began brainstorming a food-service program that would help her local community. The following year, she founded Knight Pack, a food pantry that sent children home from school with free food packages as needed.

“I wanted to address food insecurity in my own school district,” Green said. “I think sometimes people don’t realize that the things you see on social media about food insecurity are a reality in their own communities.”

Although Knight Pack started out as a relatively small organization, Green’s devotion to community service has only furthered its expansion. After garnering attention on a local level, other organizations began reaching out to her to help with donations.

“We were able to get the attention of organizations like CHOW, the Elks Club and Sodexo, and they’ve been really big contributors,” Green said. “They’ve donated a lot of food gift cards that families can put toward their groceries for the week, which really helps combat food insecurity.

“When it first started, we were sending home packs to a few families. Now, we’ve sent over 275,000 food items home.”

Over the years, Knight Pack has inspired a lot of local participation. “While I was in high school, Knight Pack became a school club, and more and more students were signing up to help,” Green said. “With the help of my mom, a teacher at Windsor High School, we were able to hold frequent fundraisers and walk-a-thons where people can raise donations.”

What started off as one girl’s small-scale relief program has become a food-service program that has the support of an entire community.

“As of now, we work with three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school,” Green said. “It’s inspiring to see kids of all ages helping out.”

She emphasizes the anonymity of the food packs: “Counselors, teachers or administrators send home a permission slip to families, and they send it back if they’re in need. It was important that we never knew who was getting the packs. People have an easier time asking for help if they are given privacy, and we want to help as many families as possible.”

When COVID-19 hit, the virus didn’t stop Knight Pack. “We started doing home deliveries during lockdown,” Green said. “It was more difficult because the kids weren’t in school, but it was necessary that we figured out a way to keep getting food to families in need.”

When everyone began going back to school, Knight Pack resumed food pickups, although deliveries are still available. “If families need food packs, it’s important that we provide them no matter what,” she said.

Despite her busy school schedule, Knight Pack is still a priority for Green: “I’m fortunate that I was in a position to start something like Knight Pack, and I have no intention of stopping. You never know if the kids around you have food when they go home. If you can make a difference, why wouldn’t you want to continue helping others in need?”

Alison Dura, assistant director of Decker’s undergraduate nursing programs and Green’s faculty advisor, emphasized how Green’s dedication to service work has been reflected in her time at Binghamton.

“Alexis has quietly continued this important community service while demonstrating exceptional performance as a nursing student,” Dura said. “She does not seek recognition for anything she does. Instead, she focuses on others’ needs.”

According to Green, her time at Decker has only furthered her desire to keep giving back. “I’ve always led myself down a path of service, and providing support to those who need it has always been a goal of mine,” she said. “You can’t turn a blind eye to the suffering of other people, and that translates directly into nursing care. As a nurse, I hope that I can help people like I have with Knight Pack.”

Green loves Decker’s prioritization of public service and feels that Binghamton University was the perfect place to pursue a lifetime career in community outreach.

“I am thankful that I attend a college full of likeminded people also interested in helping others,” she said. “I imagine a lot of my peers founding organizations like Knight Pack someday.”

Posted in: Health, Decker